FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., As Americans across the United States learn to work and grow together under the shadow of COVID-19, life for many DOD Civilians and their families is no different when compared to other communities as they too have their own fair share of challenges and concerns.
Consequently, for Cleon Skeete a Theater Integrator Analyst for the Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) and his family Wife [Diana], Son [Cristian] and Daughter [Mia], the need to telework and home-study did not come easy to their household.
“Telework and having kids doing [school] work from home is not something that we ever prepared for; so it is somewhat rough at times. We are just trying to follow guidelines that have been put out and trying to make this situation more positive,” said Cleon.
“My family and I are coping in the best way possible.”
Like many families adjusting to the stay-home-orders implemented at the end of March in the state of Arizona by Governor Doug Ducey, the Skeete’s are making the necessary adjustments to work and live under the mandate.
“I had to essentially make the open part of my room into my office. I ended up buying a small desk and all the essentials to ensure that I could do my job efficiently,” said Cleon.
“As for the kids; they are doing ok. They miss the interaction with their friends but they are trying the best that they can.”
The Skeete’s, are also trying to convey the urgency of their new environment and what it means for the rest of the community to their children.
“My wife and I talk to the kids [Cristian] and [Mia] about the current world and [local] city [Sierra Vista] crisis and how it’s impacting the normal day-to-day activities. We [are] trying to get them to understand the gravity of this situation and what measures are being done to save lives,” said Cleon.
“We [are] also telling them that there are great people [grocery store personnel, postal workers, nurses, doctors and Soldiers] out there risking their lives every day to help each one of us.”
Not only is Cleon and his children adjusting to their new work schedules and routines; Diana, Cleon’s spouse is also embracing technology to accomplish her volunteer work from home.
“My wife is a stay at home mom but she is active in various church functions to include a women’s group called “No Excuse Mom” which has her interacting with them via teleconference or phone-camera,” said Cleon.
The resilience of the Skeete family can be often seen on a daily basis as they plan when and who will go out to buy essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic in order to minimize risk.
“So usually we hit the grocery stores in the afternoon after work has concluded. I and my wife have a schedule and we rotate who’s going, so we are not all exposed to too many people,” said Cleon.
Like everyone living under the shadow of COVID-19 the Skeete’s have also noticed some very peculiar shortages at the grocery store.
“As of right now, we are not lacking anything, but for some reason there is a serious toilet paper shortage and can’t really understand that.”
And like all families living during this modern pandemic, the Skeete’s remain concerned about the health and welfare of their fellow Americans.
“We are worried that hospitals are so overwhelmed with cases that they have to pick and choose who to give the immediate help to due to lack of equipment and in some cases limited staff. We worry that people under those conditions will have to wait longer for critical care,” said Cleon
“However, the main concern has been the unknown. We are concerned about what the true numbers are and what really needs to get done.”
Despite the challenges and concerns that revolve around the COVID-19 crisis, the Skeete’s continue to live with a sense of normalcy as they look for ways to relax and find comfort in the mist of this current world-wide pandemic.
“It’s been hard, but we are dealing with it the best we can. As long as we get out in the back yard and get some exercise and sunlight we’ll definitely get thru this together,” said Cleon.
“In addition, we’ve been watching a lot of movies like Onward Bound, Sonic, Bad Boys for Life, Mr. Doolittle, and recently we watched Forensic Files II.”
“Overall, we are doing as good as possible, we have food, clothes, shelter and we are safe. We are making the best for it. Grateful for the family time and great weather,” said Cleon.
Although the COVID-19 experiences of coping and living under the shadow of the virus has provided more family time, adjusting to telework remains somewhat elusive for Cleon.
“The telework day is different because the majority of the day I’m either on a teleconference with the organizational staff or with the theater command elements,” said Cleon.
“Oh yes. I’m an extravert. I’m struggling without my co-workers. I need that daily interaction.”
Even though, Cleon has experienced some discomfort from his telework he appreciates the technology NETCOM has available for staying connected.
“Within the tools and applications offered by my organization, they have the video capability which allows for that facetime and interaction I am so missing,” said Cleon.
In the long-run Cleon states it maybe sometime before he fully embraces telework.
“You know something. A long time ago, I thought that a telework job would be the ideal job and it would be relaxing. Now, I see that it’s not for me. I need to be around other workers. Maybe one day when my kids have moved on with their lives I will try it again. But for the time being, it’s not for me,” said Cleon.
Regardless of how Cleon feels about telework and the adjustments his family has made, the Skeete’s remain optimistic and full of hope.
“We offer prayers for everyone globally and especially those personnel like first responders, medical staff and service members who are sacrificing their time often away from family, to care for those in need of support and critical care. I ask that everyone continue to follow the rules and stay inside. We will get thru this together,” said Cleon.